Between 1988 and 2019, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) paid $4.2 billion in compensation.
Every year, thousands of people experience vaccine injuries. To compensate for the injured, the US Congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (Vaccine Act) of 1986. The Act created the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which has paid billions in compensation to injured parties over the last three decades.
The Act bars injured parties from suing vaccine makers. But it also provides a streamlined and cost-effective alternative for vaccination injury compensation. That includes compensation for a flu shot injury.
Between 1988 and 2020, the VICP reviewed 6,129 flu shot injury claims and 186 deaths. Of those flu shot claims, 3,623 received compensation, while 627 ended with dismissals. That means 59% of flu shot injuries over the past two decades received compensation.
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What is the Flu?
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a viral respiratory illness that affects millions of people each year. For many, the disease causes symptoms that last a few days or a week, after which they subside. For others, symptoms become severe enough to require hospitalization and even cause death.
Flu symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches and headaches
- Chills and fatigue
- Cough and runny nose
While the influenza virus is active throughout the year, it becomes more active during fall and winter (flu season). To curb the virus’ spread, scientists created a flu vaccine in the 1940s, which reduced the number of flu-related deaths.
What is the Influenza Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the flu virus. But the effects of the vaccine only last for six months, which is why the CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends getting a fresh shot every flu season. It also recommends that everyone above six months old get a flu shot.
The more people get vaccinated each year, the fewer flu cases and deaths there will be. For instance, between 2017 and 2018, flu vaccinations prevented about 6.2 million infections, 5,700 influenza deaths, and 91,000 influenza-related hospitalizations.
These figures indicate millions of people regularly benefit from the vaccine’s protection. But at the same time, thousands of people suffer adverse reactions to flu shots each year. In some cases, the reactions are so adverse they cause death.
What is a Flu Shot Complication?
Most vaccines, including the flu vaccine, have side-effects. Many people experience only mild side-effects that eventually pass. Others experience side-effects that escalate into a long-term illness and, in some cases, death.
Mild side-effects may include:
- Slight nausea
- Soreness, swelling, or redness at the injection site
- Aches and fever.
Severe side-effects may include:
- Swollen eyes or lips
- Trouble breathing
- Weakness or dizziness
- High fever
With or without proper medical attention, the symptoms may escalate into a vaccine injury like:
- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Transverse Myelitis (TM)
- Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
- Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Brachial Neuritis
People who experience complications after receiving a flu shot can seek reparations by contacting the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
What is the VICP?
Before 1986, people sued vaccine manufacturers and healthcare providers to recover damages for vaccination injuries. But the number of cases threatened to disrupt the production of life-saving vaccines. To prevent this, the US government created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
The VICP is a no-fault alternative to regular litigation. That is, instead of suing to hold a vaccine company responsible for injuries, injured parties can get restitution by filing a petition under the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
How Do I Get Flu Shot Injury Compensation through the VICP?
Anyone who believes their injury is due to vaccination can file a petition. Legal guardians, representatives, and parents can file petitions on behalf of deceased or disabled individuals, or children negatively affected by a vaccine.
By October 2019, the VICP had awarded $4.2 billion in compensation for vaccine injury petitions. But note that you can only file a petition for compensation if the VICP covers the vaccine that caused the injury. The flu shot is one of these vaccines.
The petition process for getting flu shot injury compensation typically involves these steps:
- Filing a petition with the US Court of Federal Claims.
- The US Department of Health and Human Services will review the petition.
- If the petition satisfies all the requirements for compensation, the Department of Health and Human Services will make a preliminary recommendation.
- The US Department of Justice will draft a report and submit it to the court. The report will contain a legal analysis and preliminary medical recommendation.
- A court-appointed special master will receive the report and hold a hearing for the injured party and other parties to present evidence.
- After the hearing, the special master will decide if the petitioner qualifies for compensation. The special master will also decide how much compensation the petitioner should receive.
- If the petitioner qualifies for compensation, the Court will order the Department of Health and Human Services to award compensation.
On average, it takes two to three years to resolve a claim. If the petition leads to a dismissal, the petitioner may still receive attorney fees and costs, but only after fulfilling specific requirements. Also, in the event of a dismissal, a petitioner can keep seeking compensation by filing a claim in civil court.
While claims ending in dismissals are fewer than those that end in compensation, they do happen. 2011 and 2012 had the most vaccine injury claim dismissals – 3,809. On the other hand, 2016 and 2017, had the most awarded compensations – 1,394.
What Are My Chances of Getting Flu Shot Injury Compensation?
About 70% of vaccination injury petitions end with a negotiated settlement and the injured party receiving compensation. A settlement involves the parties agreeing to a compensation amount before the HHS concludes the case. Most parties opt for a settlement to avoid the time and cost of letting a petition run its course.
Other data that indicate a flu vaccine injury petition will likely end in compensation are:
- According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), of the 5,107 vaccine compensations between 2006 and 2018, 3,589 were flu shot injury compensations. That’s over 70%. This means that, compared to other vaccine injuries, flu shot injuries are more likely to receive compensation.
- According to the VICP, between 2006 and 2018, there were 4,217 influenza shot injury petitions. Among these petitioners, 3,589 received compensation, while 628 petitions resulted in dismissals. That means 85% of flu shot injury petitioners received compensation between 2006 and 2018.
- Flu shot injuries between 1988 and 2016 received compensation for nerve damage injuries like Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and Shoulder Injuries Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA).
- Between 2016 and 2020, flu shot injury claims increased from 3,123 to 6,315. Compensations within that period increased from 1,811 to 3,623.
These numbers indicate that individuals with genuine flu vaccine injury claims have a good chance of receiving compensation.
If you are uncertain about a vaccine’s safety, report vaccine-related injuries with the VAERS online form. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to monitor vaccine safety.
After several reports on the VAERS, the CDC and FDA will initiate investigations to verify the authenticity of the claims.
Vaccines keep people healthy and save lives. But like every other medication, they have their side-effects. For some, these side-effects are negligible, while for others, they are life-threatening. If you or a loved one have injuries after a flu shot, you deserve compensation.
Fortunately, the VICP provides a system that increases your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Also, petitioning through the VICP costs less time and money, making it more convenient than seeking justice through a civil court.